Sunday, May 30, 2010

Plant Medicine; Get Up, Stand Up

I type this from Hotel Freedom in the Volta Region. We’re sitting all together outside under a canopy in fan, Ghanaian Hiplife is playing from the bar speakers, and it’s a very relaxing scene after a day of being in the bus and hiking around. We’re really starting to come together as a group, and I’m glad of it. The room that Mo and I are sharing tonight? Not quite as great. I’m gonna need a beer or two before I can sleep peacefully tonight, but I think I’m tired enough that it won’t be too much of an issue.

Yesterday featured a lecture on medicines derived from Plants, then took a tour of a facility working on just that process as part of the Ministry of Health. In-between was lunch at the University, where I had Red-Red, which is a tomato and chili pepper sauce with black-eyed peas, served with chicken on the bone. I may have already mentioned it, but it’s delicious. I’m going to miss the food quite a bit. My major thought on plant medicine was worry that a large Western pharma company like Pfizer could come in and rape the land, while patenting their product back home and reaping major profits at the expense of the Ghanaian people and ecology.

We took a guided tour of the Aburi Botanical Garden, which served as a very peaceful and meditative oasis in the midst of poverty, sort of an inverted Central Park. I enjoyed it greatly, and for the same reasons I love Central – very calming, very relaxing, and you forget everything else around you while you’re there. We played in an old helicopter, smelled plenty of different spices, and touched a tree planted by Queen Elizabeth II.


Rockin’ them high socks, bein’ a cool kid


Dinner was at Chez Afrique, where the live band played Bob Marley tunes and Paul Simon/Ladysmith songs. A few rounds were had and group bonding occurred. We hung around our hotel a bit, then got around 4 hours of sleep before our weekend trip to the Volta Region.

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